The beer and bars of Copenhagen
“Don’t forget your tickets for some complimentary beers,” says the attendant inside the world-famous Carlsberg Brewery as I begin my introduction into Copenhagen’s beer and bar culture. Visit Carlsberg offers a self-guided tour of the first Carlsberg Brewery from 1847, with exhibits showing beer production and its history. In fact, Danish beer dates back further than imagined, after a girl was discovered in a peat bog clutching a jug of well-aged brew and was carbon-dated to 1370BC.
During the tour, I pass the world’s largest collection of unopened beer bottles (it was 16,384 when counted in 2006), a steam engine that revolutionized early industrial beer production, and antique copper vats used in the brewing process. The tour ends rather appropriately at the adjoining second floor Jacobsen Brewery where there’s a choice of two drinks from the range of speciality beers, ales and pilsners. Before leaving it’s well worth checking out the four giant Bornholm granite elephants that guard the brewery grounds – a fine example of world-class industrial architecture.
After my brewery tour I wander back towards the city centre through a tangle of cobbled streets to the picturesque Nyhavn district, with its showcase canal dug in the 17th century to allow traders to bring their wares into the heart of the city. Today, traditional sailing craft crowd the canal lined with colourful gabled townhouses, and although its mid-September, people are out in numbers enjoying a drink at the many trendy side cafés and bars soaking in the last bursts of autumn sunshine.